Business

ZeroLight shows how racing game tech can help sell real cars

12 Aug, 2016

Technology originally designed to make cars look great in video games is now being used to help sell real vehicles.

Gateshead-based developer Eutechnyx’s experience making racing games set it in good stead to spin out ZeroLight, a completely separate company that creates interactive visualisations of cars.

In 2012, Jaguar Land Rover asked the company to create interactive 3D graphics to illustrate two of its new models. Its visualisations of the Jaguar F-Type and new Range Rover debuted at the Paris Motor Show that year. From there, ZeroLight attracted the attention of Audi, for whom they now develop advanced car configurators.

Anyone thinking of buying an Audi can use ZeroLight’s products to explore the range. They can select the exact model and specification and then explore it in 3D. It’s an ‘omnichannel’ approach, which means the same technology can be used in showrooms, on the Web, on touchscreens and mouse-driven interfaces alike. The software can be hosted locally or streamed online.

Hi-res, high growth

ZeroLight’s technology works in up to 4K resolution and can shift up to 5 million polygons in real-time. There’s a realistic physics engine that means the cars move realistically. The company says engagement levels are much greater than traditional two-dimentional configurators.

It will probably come as no surprise to discover that ZeroLight is working with virtual reality, too. The Audi VR Experience uses the HTC Vive room-scale VR system to let anyone interested in buying an Audi explore their exact perfect model as it it was right there with them. It was first demonstrated at CES in Las Vegas in January and is currently on show at Munich Airport. The experience will roll out to more locations in the future.

Business is going well for ZeroLight and the company is gearing up for further growth. Now with a headcount of 90, they’re gearing up for further growth in the North East. They also plan to open a small North American presence. In addition to Audi, it works with Italian supercar manufacturer Pagani (one of its cars is featured in the image above).

The North of England has a rich gaming heritage that thrives to this day. ZeroLight shows that the expertise used to create hit console, PC and mobile titles can find lucrative new uses, too.

Read next: What other cities can learn from Newcastle’s tech scene

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